How to Run Faster: 5 Steps to Faster Splits


Monitoring your fatigue and having set days for recovery can be an athletes golden ticket for maximizing key workouts and increasing speed throughout the season


1. Proper Warm-Up

At some point, we were all taught how to stretch in gym class. Often times this included static stretching. Unfortunately, this is not how we want to warm up for running. Think of your legs as springs. The more you hold a spring in a stretched position, the more you limit its rebound back.  When you stretch like this, you are elongating your muscles and limiting their ability to rebound (produce power).  While you may increase your range of motion, you will limit your athletic performance. Rather, we recommend that you warm up with dynamic movements. Movements such as skipping, high knees, shuffles, etc.  This is equivalent to you compressing the spring and then letting it go. You are warming your muscles up and allowing them to maintain their full rebound potential. For more information, visit our blog on warming up.

2. Building Cadence/Metrics

When performing the act of running, there are two ways to run faster.  One of those is by increasing your stride length (how far between each step).  The other way is to increase cadence (how many steps you take).  While stride length will make you a faster runner, it also comes with a long list of risks. Therefore, when trying to limit injury and run faster, runners should focus on increasing cadence.  Data has shown that most elite runners have a cadence of 175-185 steps/minute.  Some elite runners even work their way up to 200 steps/minute.  However, when we look at slower age group runners, we see their cadence is around 165-175.  While building your cadence may be difficult at first, it is absolutely worth it. During your next easy training day, try having a focus on increasing cadence.  Aim to build cadence at easy paces first, and then let that translate into faster efforts. For more information, visit our blog on building run speed with metrics.

3. Training with Pace vs Heart Rate

When aiming to run faster, athletes will often get fixated on pace every run.  While this may be good during some portions of the year, its often detrimental to only focus on pace for all runs.  There are a multitude of factors that can make you run slower. These are factors such as temperature, altitude, ground surface, etc.  While these items can slow you down, an athlete can always train in the proper heart rate zone for any specific workout.  By training in heart rate zones, a runner will ensure they are training at the right intensity for physiological adaptations.  This can be a huge training advantage when conditions aren’t right for training by pace.  Instead of continually running at the same pace and possibly stagnating your training, be sure to run with heart rate when conditions call for it.  Your mind will thank you and your fitness will continue to progress. For more information, visit our blog on pace vs heart rate.

4. Track Intervals

Sometimes, in order to run faster we need to actually run faster.  By running on a track, it provides you with a flat surface and set distances. Running dedicated track intervals based on pace is how you can train your body and mind to sustain faster speeds. To ensure distance is right, COROS has a track run mode which measures based on what lane a runner is in.  By utilizing this feature with a GPS Watch such as the PACE 2 or APEX Pro, runners can ensure their distance and times are accurate. We recommend only 2 track workouts a week however due to their high intensity nature.  To get the most out of dedicated speed work, head to a track and aim to hit fast splits for dedicated distances. 

Sample Track Workout for 20 min 5k goal

5. Adequate Recovery

The final tip for running faster is to ensure you’re getting adequate recovery. In the COROS Training Hub, we provide athletes with metrics for fitness and fatigue. When your fatigue number increases to a certain point, recovery is needed.  When athletes train hard, but neglect recovery, they never allow their muscles a chance to adapt and grow stronger/faster. Monitoring your fatigue and having set days for recovery can be an athletes golden ticket for maximizing key workouts and increasing speed throughout the season.  For more information, visit our blog on how to avoid a fitness plateau.

Conclusion

All of these tips are meant to help you run faster. If you can follow these principles, we know that your odds of being a faster runner will increase. If you are still unsure of how to incorporate all of these items into your daily routine, take a look at our training plans. We have plans specifically designed for building threshold and speed development. Simply pair any of our plans with a COROS GPS watch (including our all new VERTIX 2), and let the plan guide you through the process. We hope these tips helped you on your journey to running faster! Get out the door and go explore perfection!

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11 thoughts on “How to Run Faster: 5 Steps to Faster Splits

  1. Troy, Agreed. There are many factors. Ground Force + Cadence.. produce more power/work. This article was meant to give 5 ways to get faster, but there are more specific items for athletes that specialize in disciplines as well! Thank you for your feedback!

  2. Thanks for the feedback Pat, There are many things that go into stride length and cadence. For each individual, they should break these metrics down further to see how they can increase in a safe and efficient manner.

  3. Far too easy to just say increase stride length and cadence. If it were that easy, we could all run faster. It requires strength and conditioning training to be able to maintain SL and cadence for the whole race in which you are competing.

  4. Track mode is great. I hope it can one day accommodate track etiquette: Fast / work laps in lane 1, then on shared tracks runners will often move out past lane 3 for jog/walk recovery which throws track mode off.

  5. William, thanks for the comment, As the race gets shorter, cadence will go up quite a bit. The faster you’re running, generally the faster the cadence or longer the stride. A 200m sprint should be maximizing both of those.

  6. Cadence? Don’t know who you’re talking about but I’m 61 yrs old and my cadence in a 200m race is at least 270 steps / min (even though the race is 25 sec).

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